Klopp hails defensive “monsters” as Liverpool open EPL campaign with win over Norwich
Liverpool was the only side to beat one of the three newly-promoted teams on the opening week of the English Premier League (EPL), as they secured a comfortable 3-0 win over Norwich City early this morning (SGT).
Given that in the earlier fixtures, both Arsenal and a revamped Aston Villa side had lost to Brentford and Watford respectively, there was hope (mostly among Manchester United fans) that Norwich City could make it a perfect return for all three promoted teams by upsetting Liverpool.
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The Reds, however, clearly didn’t get the memo, as they brushed aside Norwich without much fuss to get their EPL campaign off to a winning start. That there was more focus on Jurgen Klopp’s decision to ditch his trademark spectacles for contact lenses than on the match itself shows just how straightforward Liverpool’s win was.
Klopp’s men opened the scoring in the 26th minute through Diogo Jota.
Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino then doubled their lead in the 65th minute…
Before Mo Salah wrapped up the victory with a third goal nine minutes later.
Despite the impressive display of attacking football put on by Liverpool, manager Jurgen Klopp preferred to highlight his team’s defensive efforts.
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In particular, he praised the returning Virgil van Dijk for putting in a solid shift at the back to keep the Norwich attack in check.
Hailing the Dutchman, who recently signed a contract extension with the club, Klopp said: “Each game helps obviously and it really helps him (van Dijk). It was really good to see him on the pitch, especially when defending set-pieces, he looked really good.
“After that long time being out and the pre-season he had, being back on the pitch feels different, you could see all his class. It was hard for him to go for 90 minutes. we'll see if he has enough time to recover.
“Offensive set-pieces, we have two monsters with Joel and Virgil, they are really good in the air. We scored from a second ball (on a corner), I think Mo's goal (Liverpool’s third) was a brilliant routine, really.”
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Klopp also praised the much-maligned Kostas Tsimikas – only in the starting line-up as a replacement for the injured Andy Robertson – for putting in an encouraging shift down the left-flank.
“He (Tsimikas) was very, very good,” said Klopp. “I would say so for about 80 minutes, he did some (attacking) stuff, defended well and then it was like someone pulled the plug.
“But that is normal after that long period, so yes, it was really good. To have him starting in an away game like that was really good.”